Soul & Swagger: The Complete "5" Royales 1951-1967

by: The "5" Royales

One of the finest and most influential rhythm & blues acts of the '50s, the "5" Royales began their career as a gospel group called the Royal Sons Quintet before crossing over to secular music in 1952. The "5" Royales initially recorded for Apollo Records, where they scored hits like "Baby Don't Do It" and "Laundromat Blues," but they enjoyed greater success when they signed with King Records in 1954 and stormed the R&B charts with tunes like "Monkey Hips and Rice," "Think" (later covered by James Brown and Aretha Franklin), and "Dedicated to the One I Love" (which both the Shirelles and the Mamas & the Papas took to the upper reaches of the pop charts). While the "5" Royales were one of the best harmony acts of their day, the group's secret weapon was Lowman Pauling, who wrote their original material and played powerful, inventive lead guitar on their sides for King. Soul & Swagger: The Complete "5" Royales is a five-disc box set that collects the group's entire recorded repertoire, from their first sides as the Royal Sons Quintet to their final sessions for Home of the Blues Records in 1964. These classic recordings offer a richly detailed portrait of a group whose early singles predated what most people think of as the birth of rock & roll, and retired as R&B was making way for what would be called soul; this is great music from a remarkable time and place, and well worth exploring for fans of vintage R&B and blues. ~ Mark Deming

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